New US embassy will be used for monitoring of government offices in Islamabad, warns AGP

  • The US government started building the office despite pending approval by the prime minister, report says
  • AGP asked authorities concerned to take 'appropriate corrective action' against the construction

ISLAMABAD – Raising objections over the new seven-storey building of the US Embassy in Islamabad’s Diplomatic Enclave, the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) expressed his reservations that this would allow surveillance of the government offices surrounding the building to be carried out “conveniently,” Dawn News reported.

According to an audit report released by the AGP office, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had refused to issue the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) for the construction of the seven-storey building for the embassy without the consent of the prime minister, as the authority can approve the construction of up to five-storey building in the area.

The report further said that the US government started building the office despite pending approval by the prime minister.

“Despite pending approval by the prime minister, construction had started,” the audit report says.

New US embassy building inaugurated in Islamabad

The report revealed that country’s security agencies had wrote a letter to the CDA Chairman voicing objections against the building as saying the seven-story building “would overtake most of the ministries and other official buildings along the Constitution Avenue”

The AGP claimed, “in all probabilities, [the] rooftop of the building will be utilised to install surveillance devices that could be used to monitor government offices in the vicinity”.

Failing to implement rules and “lack of oversight” caused such kind of the irregularity, the report said, adding that a meeting of the departmental accounts committee was not called despite several requests made by the AGP office.

It has been again asked the authorities concerned to hold a high-level inquiry against the construction of the building and take “appropriate corrective action”.

The building plan was approved without any objection in February by a high-level committee comprising the CDA officers and members from Planning, Emergency and Disaster Management Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners.

On July 31, 2015, then US Ambassador Richard G. Olson had inaugurated the new building of the embassy in Islamabad at a ceremony.